Jokulsarlon is a place with the largest scale of glacial lakes and the deepest lake (about 814 feet) in Iceland. Jokulsarlon is located in the southeast part of Iceland, along the borders of the Vatnajökull National Park. It can be viewed from taking Route 1 just between Skaftafell and Höfn. This place has been the most famous tourist spot in Iceland since 1935 after the glacier began to move from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lake expanded to 6.9 sq mi because of the melting of the glaciers. The lake is increasing at varying rates each decade. This now one of Iceland’s natural wonders.
The first inhabitants settled in Iceland in 900 A.D., during that period, Breiðamerkurjökull glacier was 12 mi greater distance from the north to its present location. Between 1600 and 1900 A.D. was the period of the Little Ice Age, the temperature during that time was cooler that made the glaciers expanded more from the coast at Jokulsa River in up to 0.62 mi. When the temperature rises in 1920’s, a vast change began in the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, as the icebergs went caving and falling at a fast rate. The lagoon was beginning to take its shape around 1935. Icelanders are acknowledging the before stiff, lifeless mass of Ice forming a fascinating view.
Jokulsarlon has evolved from a big bulk of ice to a beautiful blue picturesque lagoon. The icebergs that cleave from the glacier border move towards the river and get rooted at the bottom. Even though the tide currents are strong being influenced by the wind, the icebergs just fluctuate keeping the roots intact. When they are small enough, that’s when they float and drift to the sea. These icebergs appear either in smooth milky white or bright blue, depending on the amount of air trapped inside the ice that adds up to the enchantment of the lagoon. This has been the most photographed places in Iceland because of the magnificence that leaves you breathe less every photo capture of the lenses. There isn’t any ugly angle at all.
Because of the spectacle demonstration of luminous blue icebergs, Jokulsarlon has been acknowledged by Hollywood as well. Remember the famous movies “007 James Bond: Die another Day and A View to Kill” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”? Most of the parts of those movies were set up in Jokulsarlon, Iceland. And who says bats can’t stand cold weather? The top-grossing movie “Batman Begins”, also had set here. Also if you talk about perfect set for Beowolf movie, Jokulsarlon is that place. Beowulf and Grendel movie has been shot here as well. And where better place to race with challenges than in Iceland? “Amazing Race”, the TV reality series, even had their fair share setting up the race in Jokulsarlon.
The wonderful features of the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon are the melting icebergs that drifts to the sea, their shades are a vast interplay of light and crystals as some are milky white, some are clear and are great reflectors of different colors and some are bright blue color reflectors of the bottom of the sea. When the Aurora Borealis shows up in the sky from here, it is like seeing heaven extending in Jokulsarlon. Many fishes, seals and seagulls reside here as they have found their paradise and solace in this place as well. This place is truly a sanctuary for fishes, mammals and birds.
Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon Boat Tours:
There are two types of boat tours in Jokulsarlon, the Amphibian boat tour and the Zodiac boat tour. The Amphibian boat tour takes about 30-40 minutes of guided tour. The tour guide will give you the facts and explain to you the geology and the factors that affect the lagoon. The boat is called Amphibian because it can be sailed in the water and can be drove by the shore because it has wheels on it. During the tour, you will sail along the huge and the small floating icebergs, you can even touch them and if the weather is good you might even spot seals. The Zodiac boat tour on the other hand, takes about an hour and a bit pricey because it can sail closer to the icebergs. Though children under the age of 10 aren’t allowed because of the risk involve.
Where to stay?
There are no sleeping camp of hotels in Jokulsarlon. However, you can stay at the nearest towns like Hofn and Skaftafell. The nearest hotels are; Hof 1 Hotel in Öræfasveit, Hali Country Hotel in Höfn í Hornafirði and Fosshotel Glacier in Skaftafell. Or you can also park your caravan with toilet in Jokulsarlon parking lot
How to get there?
This place is easy to access as you can take the National Highway 1, when you are renting 4WD car, but you can always take the ever reliable and efficient buses in Reykjavik. Always bring with you waterproof winter coats and wear winter boots as well especially during winter as it can be very cold, windy and showers of rain and snow might be a surprise as well. Weather in Iceland is so unpredictable so when planning to go anywhere, make sure to be properly clothe and ready for the unexpected cry of the weather especially in Jokulsarlon or any similar areas.